The Milky Way galaxy has new neighbor or, more accurately, a newly discovered neighbor.
The Milky Way is part of a cluster of more than 50 galaxies. Our neighborhood includes the famous Andromeda galaxy that we see in many photos, as well as other smaller objects.
A Russian-American team using the Hubble Space telescope has been painstakingly reviewing the telescope’s data to map our cluster. Now we have a tiny dwarf galaxy to add to our neighborhood list. The new galaxy, named KKs3 can be found in the southern sky near the constellation of Hydrus.
Standing In The Shadow
KKs3 is what’s called a ‘dwarf spheroidal’ galaxy. It’s so tiny that its stars have only .0001 of the mass of the Milky Way. Unlike Andromeda and our galaxy, it doesn’t have spiral arms. Dwarf galaxies also don’t have enough gas and dust needed for the formation of new stars. They tend to be made up of older and fainter stars.
Scientists believe that dwarf galaxies are found near much bigger ones because all the gas and dust have been sucked out by the larger galaxies. So the Milky Way may be responsible for KKs3’s stolen dust.
“The Milky Way’s New Neighbor” (Royal Astronomical Society)